SCC’s Bureau of Insurance Advises Virginians Regarding Insurance Coverage for Floods

Financial

DEC 10, 2020

RICHMOND – The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season may be over, but the State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) cautions Virginians not to let their guard down when it comes to the threat of floods. Heavy rains, saturated soil, melting snow and ice, broken dams and a lack of vegetation due to wildfires, development or other causes are just a few factors that can contribute to flooding.

The Bureau reminds Virginians that homeowners, renters and commercial insurance policies typically do not cover damage or loss caused by a flood event. “Floods can happen anywhere and anytime,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Even a few inches of water can cause extensive damage to your home and its contents.”

White encourages Virginians to assess their flood risk and protect themselves financially before the waters start to rise. If you live in a floodplain near a river, or if you live near the coast, it is especially important to consider purchasing separate flood insurance for your home. However, keep in mind that even low-risk communities can experience flooding.

Although homeowners, renters and commercial insurance policies issued in Virginia typically do not provide coverage for damage to your home, business and belongings caused by floods, the federal government does sell insurance for direct flood and flood-related damage through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This federally backed flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters and business owners, and offers separate coverage for structures and contents. “There is usually a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy takes effect, so the time to plan is now,” White said.

For more information about flood insurance, contact your insurance agent or the NFIP at 1-800-427-4661 or FloodSmart@FEMA.DHS.gov or visit floodsmart.gov. Some private insurers also offer their own flood insurance policies, so check with your insurance agent about the availability of a private flood insurance policy. In either case, ask whether your flood policy provides coverage for your personal property.

Virginians also should consider whether their auto insurance covers flood damage to their vehicles. Unlike homeowners insurance, auto insurance generally covers damage caused by flooding. However, the policyholder must have other-than-collision (also known as comprehensive) coverage on their vehicle. This coverage pays for damage to a vehicle from such things as fire, water, hail, vandalism, glass breakage, wind and falling objects.

The SCC’s Bureau of Insurance offers consumer guides regarding homeowners and auto insurance and disaster-related property insurance claims. For copies of the guides or other publications offered by the Bureau of Insurance or answers to your insurance questions, contact the Bureau of Insurance Property and Casualty Consumer Services Section at 804-371-9185 in Richmond or toll-free at 1-877-310-6560. Copies of the consumer insurance guides are also available on the Bureau’s website at scc.virginia.gov/pages/Insurance.


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Contact: Katha Treanor, 804-371-9141